On Monday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that the state would allow some non-essential businesses to re-open this Friday. Though, considering the updated number of coronavirus cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in the state, one has to wonder if that plan needs to change.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia currently has 20,740 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 836 deaths. This is an increase of 574 new cases and 18 more deaths from the day before. Georgia has seen new cases rise by 5 percent on a daily basis for the past five days. It has only been a week since the state relaxed its strict testing protocols so that anyone showing symptoms can now be tested. This has resulted in 5,932 tests having been conducted within a week’s time. New cases have been steadily rising in many counties across the state with no sign of slowing down.
In metro Atlanta, there are 2,222 cases of the virus in Fulton, 1,587 in DeKalb, 1,263 in Gwinnett, 1,259 in Cobb, 778 in Hall, 548 in Clayton, 388 in Henry, 331 in Cherokee, 311 in Carroll, 258 in Bartow, 253 in Douglas, 223 in Forsyth, 144 each in Newton and Paulding, and 143 in Rockdale.
Kemp’s order to reopen the state caught many off-guard, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Under his order, salons, barbershops, bowling alleys, theaters and numerous other non-essential businesses will be allowed to open their doors again so long as they obey social distancing measures.
While Georgia has increased its testing capacity, health experts say that the state would need to triple its current rate of testing and expand it to include asymptomatic and mild cases before it seriously considers reopening, AJC notes. The state is still technically under a shelter-in-place until April 30 with officials recommending those with pre-existing conditions or immunocompromised stay at home until May 15.